Teenage Drivers: In the Case of an Accident, Will a Claim Be Covered?

You love your kids unconditionally, right? Even when they become teenagers?

All kidding aside, part of being a parent is figuring out a way to manage teenagers’ attitudes and keep them safe.

When you mix teens and machinery, like a family car, the risk of accidents increases exponentially. Even I, responsible insurance broker that I am, had a few (not serious) accidents when I was a teenager.

As an adult in the insurance business, I’ve read many reports about teen accidents, and I’ve also listened as friends and clients recounted incidents involving their teen drivers. I’ve always said that with teen drivers, it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN an accident will happen.

When your teen starts driving, it’s serious business. With or without an accident on his driving record, your premium will increase just because insurance carriers expect, based on statistics, that your teen will have an accident at some point after his permit or license is issued and he starts driving.

The potential consequences could be costly, in terms of premiums and damages for which you’re held responsible.

Handling insurance claims for your own teen driver is one thing, but what happens if someone not listed on your policy has an accident in your car?

The reality is that only listed drivers are allowed to drive your car. However, life doesn’t neatly unfold to allow this condition to be met 100 percent of the time.

One of the most frequent questions we get is if someone is not listed on the policy, will a claim be covered? Here’s the simple answer: If permission is granted, then, yes, the claim will be covered.

But as with most things involving teenagers, it’s not so simple with teenage drivers. What if that unlisted driver is your teenage son or daughter’s friend? That’s where it gets tricky.

  • If the teen driver is licensed and not listed on your policy but lives in the household, the driver will be added to the policy, along with her respective violations.
  • If the driver does not live in the household and has proof of being listed on his own parent’s policy, then the teen driver will not be listed on your policy.
  • If the accident was your child’s friend’s fault, your policy may be charged for an “at-fault” accident, and your policy will have to pay for damages.

Sometimes all the hassle of teaching a teenager to drive and helping her become a licensed and insured driver doesn’t seem worth it. Have patience with your teenage drivers, though. Teach them the rules of the road and some of the insurance advice we share here at the Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and they’ll be making your life easier by running your errands for you, safely, in no time.

Linda Rey is a licensed insurance agent at Rey Insurance with a broad spectrum of expertise in life, accident, health, property and casualty insurance as well as retirement planning and college funding strategies.

Follow Linda on Twitter.


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